U.S. architects without a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) can pursue an NCARB Certificate through one of two “Education Alternative” options. Both of these paths enable architects to satisfy the education requirement for NCARB certification. Your eligibility will depend on your educational background, as evaluated by NCARB:

  1. Two Times AXP: Document double the AXP’s requirements (7,480 hours total); or
  2. NCARB Certificate Portfolio: Submit a portfolio of your work that demonstrates learning through your experience as a licensed architect


To qualify for the Two Times AXP option, you must:

  • Have at least three years of continuous licensure for the last three consecutive years in any U.S. jurisdiction without disciplinary action.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree that includes significant coursework in architecture (as determined by NCARB).
  • The program must be offered at an institution with U.S. regional accreditation (or the Canadian equivalent).
    • Your degree must have been awarded after earning less than 150 semester credits, or the quarter-hour equivalent
    • The program must include 60 semester credit hours (90 quarter hours) of architecture coursework in the degree program major
    • Note: NCARB does not have a list of accepted degrees, since the amount of architectural defined content may vary from institution to institution

If you meet these requirements and are approved for the program, you will document two times the required hours in each of the AXP’s six practice areas—including any hours you have already reported. If you do not meet these requirements, you may be eligible for the NCARB Certificate Portfolio. Learn more about reporting experience as an architect.


The Education Alternative option is offered at no additional charge to the cost of maintaining your active NCARB Record. If your NCARB Record has lapsed at any time, you will be charged the initial certification application fee of $1,280. Once you have finished documenting your additional experience, it may take approximately 45 business days before your NCARB Certificate is issued.

Your Jurisdiction’s Requirements

Please note: Not all jurisdictions accept an NCARB Certificate issued through the Education Alternative paths. Use our Licensing Requirements Tool to learn which jurisdictions currently grant reciprocity through the Education Alternative.

How to Get Started

  1. You will need to establish or reactivate your NCARB Record.
  2. Email EducationAlternative@ncarb.org to determine which option(s) you are eligible for.
  3. To learn more about applying for the NCARB Certificate through the Education Alternative, download the Education Guidelines and Certification Guidelines.